In response to the article “It’s the duty of every doctor to get involved with research”, OUCAGS’s letter argued that it is not enough just to have large numbers of doctors involved in research. Sufficient numbers also need to take up clinical academic careers, as clinical academics working as principal investigators make significant contributions to the research and the translation of outcomes to patient care.
OUCAGS also highlighted that, although research funders have been making efforts to support clinical academic careers, the issue of dwindling numbers of clinical academics is not fully resolved, and must continue to be addressed.
An area of particular concern is post-doctoral progression, since each year an appreciable number of Clinical Lecturer posts go unfilled. It is to examine the underlying reasons for this that OUCAGS has established Clinical DPhil Paths – a longitudinal study of career decision-making amongst medically qualified doctoral students registered at our institution. Preliminary findings indicate that, of UK doctors who intend to mainly work in clinical academic posts in the long-term, only 66% are extremely or very likely to seek a Clinical Lectureship in England. This is somewhat surprising, given their stated career plans; the complex underlying issues need exploring to generate evidence-based strategies for the further enhancement of clinical academic careers.
OUCAGS’ BMJ Letter of the Week (scroll down to last page of document)